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How Can I Locate a Lost 401(k)?

While it may seem impossible, it's quite easy to lose track of a retirement account. Maybe you changed jobs years ago and forgot to tie up any loose ends before you left. In this case you could have retirement money you lack access to, money that could make all the difference once you stop working for good. Forbes offers the following advice to help you track down a long-forgotten retirement plan in order to prepare for a bright financial future.

Contact Past Employers

While in the past it was common to have one employer until retirement age, these days that's not exactly the case. Accordingly, your first step to locate any overlooked retirement plans it to contact your past employers. If you can access a location or email address, send notice of your inquiry. It's best to have it in writing so you can have a record of your search. In the event your previous employer has gone out of business, the process can be a bit more complex. In this case, you can contact the U.S. Department of Labor to enlist their help absolutely free of charge.  

Find Out If Your Plan Was Terminated

In the event your plan was terminated your employer is supposed to contact you so you can receive the proceeds. However, you may be inaccessible for whatever reason, in which case the money in your account would be transferred to another entity. This could be another retirement account or even a store of unclaimed funds kept by the state. There is a searchable database, but it can be a challenge to track down your specific fund. If your search reaches a dead end, consider contacting an attorney to delve further into the matter.

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